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Sandstorms, Extreme Heat Wreak Havoc in Oman

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Feb 21, 2015 – Bad weather forced the cancellation of Saturday’s fifth stage of the Tour of Oman. The organizers took the decision after the riders came to a halt shortly after the start of the stage which had already been shortened because of a sandstorm.

AFP/Peloton/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad

“On account of the weather conditions and for safety reasons the stage has been cancelled,” the organizers said. Several riders remarked how dangerous the conditions were.

“Four riders had already punctured on the descent,” said French sprint specialist Nacer Bouhanni. “It would only take one rider to fall to bring another 50 down.”

Spaniard Rafael Valls leads the overall standings having won the feature stage of the race, the climb to the Green Mountain, on Friday. American Tejay van Garderen is second, 19 seconds adrift with two stages remaining. The race finishes on Sunday with a 133.5km run from Oman Air to Muttrah Promenade. Tejay van Garderen said he had mixed feelings about the decision not to race, BMC said on its website:

“I think they made the right decision not to start us in the sandstorm,” van Garderen said. “I thought they made the right call there – a very prudent call. The neutralization up and over the climb saw some people on the downhill exploding their tires. From what I saw, it was all from the same team. So it wasn’t that the conditions were dangerous. I think it was their equipment that was inferior. I think we would have been fine to race. “Racing is always risky. You are never going to eliminate the risk. I think with our equipment – and probably 90 percent of the other teams’ equipment – we would have been fine. I think it was just an isolated team with bad equipment. That affected everyone’s ability to race the race.”

As the riders get some shade, Eddy Merckx, right, #TdF director Christian Prudhomme, left, et al, decide to cancel stage 5 of the Tour of Oman because of sandstorms and extreme heat on Saturday. (Photo: Yuzuru Sunada) #fuelfortheride

A photo posted by peloton magazine (@pelotonmagazine) on Feb 21, 2015 at 6:40am PST

Sandstorms forced the cancellation of stage 5 at the Tour of Oman on Saturday. (Photo: Yuzuru Sunada) #fuelfortheride

A photo posted by peloton magazine (@pelotonmagazine) on Feb 21, 2015 at 6:36am PST